Striker Barak Itzhaki and midfielder Gal Alberman conquer the Magyars, substitute midfielder Dor Micha grabs both assists
In head coach Paulo Sousa's maiden game as head coach, Maccabi Tel Aviv put on a superb display of attacking football to register an impressive 0-2 victory in the away leg of their first Champions League qualifier against Hungarian champions Gyori ETO FC. Early in the first half the Israeli champions already showed their attacking intentions as shots from distance by midfielders Gal Alberman and Maharan Radi within the first ten minutes of play were both saved by Gyori keeper Ľubos Kamenar. Gyori tried to stay in the match but Maccabi continued to dominate proceedings and further shots on target by midfielders Eran Zahavi (22nd minute) and Omri Altman (37th minute) narrowly missed handing their side a precious away goal. The Hungarians' best effort of the half came on the half hour mark when Gyori's young striker, Roland Varga, let fly from outside the area. But Maccabi goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas, in his maiden appearance for the club, timed his jump perfectly to palm the ball over the net.
The second half started at a slightly slower pace, but within ten minutes Maccabi saw two more efforts narrowly miss their target, the first by Maharan Radi and the second a header by striker Rade Prica, both grazing the far post. With a quarter of an hour left on the clock, the substitution of Rade Prica with young midfielder Dor Micha signalled a shift in play and within a minute of his appearance on the pitch the change was already tangible. Breaking through on the right flank, Micha crossed to Itzhaki in the area who shook loose a defender and smashed the ball past the Gyori keeper into the net to give Maccabi a precious away advantage and Itzhaki his first goal since returning to the club after a season on loan. Maccabi kept up the pressure and in the time remaining Radi, Zahavi and Micha all had chances at doubling the advantage. But it wasn't until time added on that Dor Micha once again broke down the right and passed back into the area for Gal Alberman, whose powerful shot flew past the Hungarian keeper's outstretched hand into the upper left-hand corner of the net to seal an invaluable 0-2 away Maccabi victory.
The return leg against Gyori ETO FC will be played next Tuesday night at 9.30pm at Bloomfield Stadium.